Deir el-Ballas 2021, Week 3: 5/15 – 5/19

We have finished up our work for this short season and turned our reports into the Antiquities Inspectorate at Qena and had a meeting with the Governor of Qena Province to discuss the importance of the site and its preservation. In the final week of the season, we undertook some more reconstruction on the casemates at the western face of the North Palace that were beside a modern roadway and in danger of being driven over. Piet Co[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2021, Week 2: 5/8 – 5/13

We finished up our restoration work on the ‘South Palace’ for this season, stabilizing the façade and the inner stairway wall, and will move on to the North Palace next week. We also exposed two large areas in the South Wadi (tentatively designated Areas 1 and 2). In just cleaning the debris off the surface we can see two very different patterns of construction here: a very long, large building in area 2 made up of a number of [...]

Deir el-Ballas 2021, Week 1: 5/3 – 5/8

Having been delayed by the pandemic, we are back for a brief season to continue the restoration work in the North Palace and the ‘South Palace’ as well as exploring what we think was the administrative area for the settlement in the mouth of the South Wadi. Given the excessive heat - 112 F and Ramadan we are working on-site from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., it is just too hot to work after that. But we are busy in the afternoons worki[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 9: 1/25

The last day for the season. We have covered up the exposed ancient brick with sand to protect it until next year when we can cap it with new mud-brick to protect it. Vicky Jensen has taken on the herculean task of seeing the registered objects to the Antiquities Department storeroom and securing the sherd material and samples for next season. Our report is turned into the local Antiquities Inspectorate office in Qena and we are off t[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 8: 1/18 – 1/23

The last week for the season. Restoration of the North Palace’s main enclosure wall on the south side of the palace and the restoration of the casemate core of the palace itself are continuing. Bettina Bader has joined us to look at the ceramic material. House E revealed that in addition to New Kingdom pottery there were Kerma Beakers and a Canaanite amphora. We are doing the final object recording with Piet, Vicky, and Bettina draw[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 7: 1/11-1/16

We are now in the home stretch, just one more week to go. We have begun the restoration of the North Palace’s main enclosure wall on the south side of the palace and are continuing the restoration of the casemate core of the palace itself. At the ‘South Palace’, mud bricks are being made and left to cure for next season’s restoration efforts. The floors in House D are getting a final cleaning for recording and Tom is planning[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 6: 1/4-1/9

We continued the cleaning off the North Palace’s main enclosure wall on the south side of the palace including what we think was part of the original entrance to the Palace that incorporated a large rock outcrop. We have also begun the restoration of the casemate core of the Palace itself alongside a modern road cut which has damaged part of the foundation. The cleaned southwestern face of the casemate core of the North Palace [...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 5: 12/28-1/2

We started off the New Year continuing the cleaning off of the North Palace’s impressive enclosure wall on the south side of the palace. Much of it is only a single course or traces of the massive bricks used to make it. Like the bricks used in the palace itself, they average around 53 centimeters long, equal to the royal cubit measure. We also have found the North-South boundaries of the wall and a line of the whitewash used on the[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 4: 12/21-12/26

Although we had a trimmed staff and a short week for Christmas, we managed to get quite a lot accomplished. Piet finished clearing the ‘egg’ deposit in House F, and amongst the many jar sealings, found a lovely red burnished wine jar. Hassaan was able to find a clear a large section of the southern enclosure wall of the North Palace and began screening some of Reisner’s old dumps to fill in some of the casemate foundations to[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 3: 12/14-12/19

This week we sadly said goodbye to Tony Crosby who returned to Texas after finishing the reconstruction of House D. Nick Brown and Vicky Jensen continued clearing House E finding several intact deposits of fallen roofing in the structure proper and evidence of chipped stone working to the immediate east of the house proper which was a yard that also contained traces of a pair of round, mud brick silos. To the southwest of House E we[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 2: 12/8-12/12

This week, we continued cleaning House D, and Tony Crosby began reconstructing the walls of the structure with modern unbaked mud brick made to match the original and set in a pattern that mimics the bonding pattern used in the original construction. In cleaning we found more confirmation that this house was used, at least in part, as a bakery, finding a number of quartzite grindstones and grinders in association with the silos in the[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2019-2020, Week 1: 12/1-12/6

We started back at the site this week. First, we checked the ‘South Palace’ with Tony Crosby to go over last year’s restoration and plan for future work and then we moved to the houses to the West of the North Palace. These were threatened by the expansion of the modern cemetery which had destroyed a number entirely as well as by looting. We began by cleaning House D, which we had covered at the end of the season last year to prot[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Five: 1/3 – 1/10

Side view of the partially restored façade of the ‘South Palace’ Our last week at the site was a busy one finishing up as much of the restoration of the ‘South Palace’ we could for this year and then backfilling and covering up the exposed ancient brickwork to protect it until next season. Work was also going on finishing up the guard house for the site. We submitted our report for the season to the Antiquities Department office[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Four: 12/30 – 1/2

We had hoped to get an extension on our permission in order to work through January, but that did not come through so we had to finish up our work for this season. In the final cleaning of the staircase, we found a series of ship timbers that had been used to reinforce a course of brickwork near what was the top of the stairs, but the actual connection from the stairs to the top of the platform seems to have been lost. Wood and casts of [...]

Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Three: 12/22 – 12/28

Merry Christmas, our week was broken up by the holiday. We worked Christmas Day but took off Boxing Day to buy supplies and run errands in Luxor. Work proceeded on the construction of a guard house to keep watch on the ‘South Palace’ area. According to the Qena Inspectorate’s wishes the house is being constructed of limestone blocks with a concrete floor and reinforced concrete roof and an iron door and barred windows for security.[...]

Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Two: 12/15 – 12/21

We made a lot of progress in our first full week at the site. The façade of the ‘South Palace’ is now almost completely cleaned and is looking very impressive. Piet Collet and Vicky Jensen and Tom Hardwick are now busy planning the brickwork prior to Tony Crosby’s arrival and the beginning of the restoration phase of the project. We were also lucky to have a visit from Salima Ikram and Nicholas Warner. Nicholas has worked a great [...]

Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week One: 12/10-12/15

Piet Collet and I arrived in Luxor on December 10 on the night train from Cairo. Hassaan Mohamed Ali, our incomparable foreman met us at Luxor station and brought us to the Wilkinson House where we will be staying for December thanks to the generosity of Pearce Paul Creasman, Associate professor of dendrochronology and Egyptian archaeology, Curator of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and Director of the University of Arizona Egyptian[...]

Another Brick in the Wall

Preparations have begun for our upcoming 2018-19 season at Deir el-Ballas. Already Hassaan Mohamed Ali has supervised the production of 5000 new mud bricks for the restoration of the façade of the “South Palace” which had been perilously undermined by looters. We will also survey the South Wadi and the South Hill and area to assess the condition of the ancient houses, the chapels area, workmen’s village and administrative areas. [...]


From left to right: Niv Allon, Christian Knoblauch, Peter Lacovara and Bettina Bader in a chilly Boston. The publication team that worked on the Hearst Expedition Material at in Berkeley this past April reconvened at the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) annual meeting which was held from November 15th to 18th at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. ASOR is celebrating its 117th year sponsors archaeological research and other [...]

Debating Deir el-Ballas

The site of Deir el-Ballas is of great importance in our understanding of the history and archaeology of the Second Intermediate Period. This June Peter Lacovara participated in an International Workshop on “Second Intermediate Period Assemblages: The Building Blocks of Local Relative Sequences of Material Culture” hosted by the ‘Beyond Politics’ Project at the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology of the Austrian Acade[...]

Drawing Deir el-Ballas

Bettina Bader drawing a "fish dish" with Vicky Jensen and Christian Knoblanch In order to prepare Reisner's excavations at Deir el-Ballas for publication I was joined by Bettina Bader and Christian Knoblauch of the Austrian Academy of Sciences project: Beyond Politics: Material Culture in Second Intermediate Period Egypt and Nubia, START-Projekt Y 754-G19 funded by the Austrian Science, and by Niv Allon of the Metropolitan Museum of Art [...]

Back to Ballas

Piet Collet surveying on top of "South Palace" From January 11 to January 24, 2017, the Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund conducted our first, short initial season of survey and recording at the Site of Deir el-Ballas. Our goals for this campaign were to figure out ways to protect and restore the structures remaining at the site and in particular to study the “South Palace,” which had been damaged by recent looting. Our [...]